| Robert Westenberg |
Chair / Associate Professor of Theatre
Robert Westenberg joined the Drury University Theatre faculty after a lengthy commercial career that included work on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, national tours, television, and film. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in the original Broadway casts of Into the Woods as the Wolf and the Prince for which he received a Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award, Secret Garden as Neville Craven, and Sunday in the Park with George where he replaced Mandy Patinkin in the title role. Other Broadway credits include Javert in Les Misérables and Niko in Zorba for which he received the Theatre World Award.
While known for his work in musical theatre, he has also appeared in numerous plays and classical works, including Shakespeare, in theatres around the country. Mr. Westenberg is a graduate of Fresno State University and holds an M.F.A., studying at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and ultimately graduating from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver.
He is the director of The Broadway Cabaret and also directed The Crucible last season. This past summer he directed The Secret Garden at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.
Drury University faculty member since 2005
|Dr. Robin Schraft |
Professor of Theatre
A graduate of New York University, Dr. Schraft works in the areas of directing, acting, theatre management, and lighting and sound design. His commercial career includes work as a director, designer and stage manager in New York, summer stock, national tours, and Branson. He has spoken on design at theatre conferences throughout the United States and Canada. He is an active member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, having served for many years as the Vice-Commissioner for Computer Applications for the Lighting Commission of the Institute. He also served on the committee that wrote the current national recommended practices for stage lighting graphics.
Locally he has been a performer, director or designer for such organizations as Springfield Ballet, MSU Tent Theatre and the Springfield Regional Opera. He has also served as a design consultant in Branson and for schools in the region. His chapter on teaching Stage Management was recently published in Inspired Teaching: Essays on Theatre Design and Technology (2013). The production of Copenhagen that he directed was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regional festival in Omaha, Nebraska. Last year he directed The World According to David Ives and was lighting and sound designer for Curtains.
Drury University faculty member since 1991
| Dr. Michael Sokol |
Professor of Theatre
Mick Sokol holds a Ph.D. in Theatre History from the University of Georgia, an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Southern Illinois University, and a B.F.A. in Theatrical Design from The University of Florida. Dr. Sokol teaches a wide variety of courses at Drury, specializing in Theatre History and Playwriting. Of the many productions he has directed, designed or written in his twelve years at Drury, Dr. Sokol notes The Dining Room and Vegetables as his favorites. His passion for producing new scripts helped create the Evening of New Plays and Short and Funny, two venues for the performance of unpublished plays here at Drury.
Drury University faculty member since 2001
| Madison Spencer |
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Madison Spencer was born and raised in the Kansas City, Missouri metro area. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas with a B.F.A. in Theatre Design she moved to Los Angeles, California. Within a year and a half of arriving in Los Angeles she was working as a Costumer for film and television projects. Madison worked on such popular and critically acclaimed television series as The West Wing, NYPD Blue, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also costumed for film including Charlie's Angels and Spiderman 2. She is a member of Motion Picture Costumers Local 705.
Madison received her M.F.A. in Scenography with Honors from the University of Kansas.
Madison has numerous costume design credits including Little Shop of Horrors, The Drowsy Chaperone, A Flea in Her Ear, Doubt, The Crucible, The Odd Couple and The Full Monty. Her directing credits include Rumpelstiltskin, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Plaza Suite, She Stoops to Conquer and Five Women Wearing The Same Dress.
Drury University faculty member since 2011
| Dr. Ruth Monroe |
Emeritus Professor of Theatre
Dr. Ruth Monroe, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, specializes in history of theatre and directing. In addition to working with college and university theatre, she has directed for Northwestern Iowa Opera Company and has participated in workshops with Paul Sills and Arthur Lessac. She has observed work in acting and directing in professional theatre schools in Moscow and Warsaw.
Dr. Monroe's current research includes theatre and drama in 17th century England and an examination of the possible connection between the American fascination with musical theatre and the Puritan ban on theatre but acceptance of many forms of music as entertainment.
Drury University faculty member since 1976
| Polly Brandman |
Polly Brandman began training in classical ballet in Toledo, Ohio, where she danced with Toledo Ballet Company. She also studied modern dance and developed a profound interest in body mechanics and kinesiology. After completing a B.A. in French and Classical Languages (University of Toledo) and an M.F.A. in Dance with a Concentration in Choreography (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), she arrived in Springfield in 1979 to become Artistic Director of Springfield Ballet. She left in 1985 and was on the faculty at Missouri State University and performed as a guest artist with Mid-America Dance Company of St. Louis. With Tracy Maxfield and Beckah Reed she co-founded Wishbone Dance Theatre, a modern dance company that performed in Springfield and toured in the Midwest. In addition, Polly is a licensed massage therapist and a certified instructor of Youn Wha Ryu martial arts and Tai Chi Chuan.
| George Cron |
George Cron has directed productions at almost every venue in town, including The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), The Glass Menagerie, As You Like It, The Odd Couple, and Tuesdays with Morrie. He has acted professionally on stage, film and television. Springfield audiences saw him perform in Misery at the Landers for Springfield Little Theatre and in The Seafarer at Springfield Contemporary Theatre. You will also be able to see him as Sheriff Bignall in the movie Broken Faith. His company, A Class Act Productions, produces the very successful parodies of Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer every month at the Canvas Art Gallery. Mr. Cron coaches acting privately and takes great pride in the accomplishments of his students, many of whom now work professionally in NYC, LA and Chicago. He continues to be an emeritus member of Love Creek Productions in NYC.
| Michelle Willadsen |
Michelle Rose Willadsen graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography. She has worked with master teachers from the Martha Graham Dance Company, Jose Límon Dance Company and Paul Taylor Dance Company. Michelle has been teaching dance for over fourteen years for programs such as Dance Masters of America, the University at Buffalo, the Royal Academy of Ballet, Masquerade Dance, Rainbow Dance, and for several dance programs in New York and Missouri. Michelle has been seen as a soloist for both Buffalo Contemporary Dance and Zodiaque Dance Companies. Her performing credits include Costa Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and regionally in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Celebrate America, The Road to Rock, and Dino's Christmas Extravaganza. Her choreography has been showcased at the Alley Way Theater and the Elmwood Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York and several theaters in Branson, Missouri. She is the founder of "Artists In Action" designed to help bring the arts together for positive causes. Currently, Michelle is the artistic director of Mid West Dance Revolution.
| Mark Needelman |
Mark Needelman grew up in Miami, Florida. He had formative technical theater experiences at Miami Dade Community College, the Miami Shakespeare Festival, the University of Florida. He has worked as a scenic carpenter, lighting technician, costume shop assistant, and crew supervisor. He received his BFA in Sculpture at the University of Florida. He was also a member of the University of Florida Dance Company. He enjoys the creative process of bringing ideas into physical form on the stage. This is Mark's second season at Drury University.
Rebecca Yi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with costume emphasis from Missouri State University. Previously she has worked as a Costume Shop Assistant for the MSU Department of Theatre & Dance as well as three seasons of Tent Theatre. Past credits for MSU include scenic design for Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) and costume design for For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide… When the Rainbow is Enuf.
| Beth Falukos |
Musical Director / Conductor / Pianist
Beth Falukos grew up in Springfield, studying piano with Joyce Minasian. Her first experience accompanying was as an 11-year-old playing the organ for services in a small Lutheran church. As a teenager she substituted as organist at St. George's Church in Tunis, Tunisia, where her family lived for three years. Upon returning to the States she continued developing her skills accompanying theatrical productions, choirs, small instrumental ensembles, and soloists. She completed her nursing degree at St. John’s School of Nursing in 1995.
Beth has been involved with music programs in area churches for the past 24 years and has worked as rehearsal and performance accompanist for the Springfield Regional Opera. Beth is a homeschooling mom of five and teaches piano in addition to working as music director for both The Broadway Cabaret and the musical productions here at Drury.
| Josh Inmon |
Director / Choreographer
Josh Inmon holds an undergraduate degree in Communication and a graduate degree in Theatre from Missouri State University. His choreography credits include productions of Les Misérables, The Drowsy Chaperone, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, The Rocky Horror Show, as well as the regional premiere of Evil Deal: The Musical. Last season he directed and choreographed Curtains for Drury University, and musically staged their production of The Crucible.
As a performer, Josh's credits include The Music Man (Tommy Djilas), Curtains (Bobby Pepper), Cats (Rum Tum Tugger), as well as productions of 9 to 5 and 42nd Street at Tent Theatre. Most recently, Josh was seen as Kyle, the UPS guy, in Legally Blonde at Springfield Little Theatre. Additionally, Josh co-directs and choreographs Springfield Little Theatre's Y.E.S. Troupe and Drury University's Broadway Cabaret.
Mary Livesay holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Michigan. She is enthusiastic about theatre and the arts. Mary serves as the Box Office and House Manager and acts as the primary liaison between the theatre department and our patrons.
Kerry Allan began her dance training with Woodstock Ballet in Atlanta and continued to study and perform at the University of Georgia. Her choreography has premiered with performing companies like Sole Full of Rhythm, Meaning in Motion, Youth Dance Theater, Merge, and the professional modern dance company People Dancing, where she served as a performer and choreographer. She has received top awards for choreography in regional and national dance competitions and participated in international dance festivals and workshops, including the Zawirowania Dance Festival in Warsaw, Poland. Kerry has a wide range of experience teaching, serving as an instructor at Eastern Michigan University and private studios throughout Michigan and Georgia. In addition to studio work, she has been part of several public school programs (from K- 12) to bring movement arts to a wider community of students. She is currently serving as president, co-founder and director of Springfield Dance Alliance and on faculty at Drury University and Springfield Ballet.